We all have goals. We all have things we want to accomplish. Lose weight. Buy a house. Learn a new language. Drink more water. You know what your goals are and you probably have a pretty good idea of how to reach those goals but it takes effort and effort often requires motivation. Without motivation or drive, taking even the tiniest step toward our goal can seem like an unsurmountable obstacle.
So how do you find the motivation to work toward your goals? It’s not always easy but we’ve got six steps to help you get started and keep the motivation going, especially when you’re struggling.
Start small. Your list of goals may be long but the best way to get started is to choose one small thing to focus on. You can’t accomplish all your goals at once and if you push yourself too hard, too quickly you’ll be more likely to burn out your motivation. Start with one small goal and make it specific, measurable and achievable. Don’t just tell yourself you want to wake up earlier — set a goal of waking up at 7 a.m. and start working toward it.
Make an action plan. Once you choose your goal, it’s time to come up with the steps you need to reach it. Since we’re starting small here, taking baby steps is ok. Don’t strive to immediately wake up an hour earlier. Instead, wake up 10 minutes earlier for a week and gradually increase until you reach your goal. It can be a great motivation to put your plans on paper and track your progress. Write a list, draw a chart, keep a calendar. When you take a step closer to your goal, a visual representation of the progress you’re making can help you keep up the good work and also see an achievable endpoint.
Share your goal. Telling others about your goal can help make it feel official — you’ve said it aloud to family or friends or written it down in a blog post or message board and now it’s real. There’s accountability there but also support and encouragement. Motivation can also be found by sharing your goal with those who are after the same thing, whether it’s through a class or an online or in-person group.
Find inspiration. You know what you want to do and how you’re going to achieve it but that doesn’t guarantee motivation. You may need to take some extra steps to summon up inspiration. Read up on your goal. Seek out articles, blog posts and websites about the subject. Put reminders of what you want to achieve in your home. Surround yourself with inspiring images and quotes. Create your own mantra and tell yourself the words you need to hear every day in the mirror. Don’t always wait for inspiration to strike when you can seek it out.
Accept the slump. Motivation ebbs and flows. You’ve been making incredible progress for weeks and suddenly you just don’t feel it anymore. Don’t let slumps or setbacks discourage you or cause you to undo any progress you’ve made. Even the most successful people in the world lose motivation once in a while. Remind yourself how far you’ve come, what you’ve already achieved, and stick it out.
Give yourself a break. When the slump strikes, it’s ok to take a break. Focus on self-care and the things that bring you joy. Do something creative. Spend time with good people. Enjoy some nature and fresh air. Get some exercise. Take your mind off your goal for a little while and take care of yourself. Put your focus back on your goal with your motivation refreshed and recharged.